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Conversion therapy

We have campaigned for some years against conversion or 'reparative' therapy. We believe that it is an ethical offence for one of our members to offer or conduct such therapy.

Conversion therapy is an umbrella term for a therapeutic approach, or any model or individual viewpoint that demonstrates an assumption that any sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently preferable to any other, and which attempts to bring about a change of sexual orientation or gender identity, or seeks to supress an individual’s expression of sexual orientation or gender identity on that basis.

Commitment from leading professional bodies and NHS England

UKCP, along with 15 other organisations including NHS England, NHS Scotland and the Royal College of GPs, have signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Conversion Therapy in the UK

This new MoU makes it clear that conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation is unethical, potentially harmful and is not supported by evidence.

This MoU updates one released in 2015 at the Department of Health, which focused exclusively on sexual orientation. It is endorsed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender charity Stonewall.


Conversion therapy – frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions asked about conversion therapy and our Memorandum of Understanding.

Guidance for therapists

UKCP published its statement on reparative therapy in February 2010.

We have also issued Guidance on the Practice of Psychological Therapies that Pathologise and/or seek to Eliminate or Reduce Same Sex Attraction. This is an elaboration of UKCP’s Ethical Principles and Codes of Professional Conduct relevant to ‘reparative’ therapy.


In 2009, a study led by Dr Michael King indicated that approximately one in six therapists had, at some time, engaged in conversion therapy.

Since then, all major professional bodies representing psychological therapy in the UK have made clear that offering conversion therapy would be in breach of their professional codes of practice.

If members of the public have evidence of UKCP members offering conversion therapies, they are encouraged to make a complaint.

There has been understandable public and parliamentary concern about conversion therapy. There was a parliamentary debate on this issue in November 2013 and there was also a parliamentary motion tabled in June 2013.

Conversion-therapy-guidanceIn 2014, working closely with the Department of Health and professional partners, UKCP has published public information and advice on conversion therapy.





Memorandum-of-understanding-on-conversion-therapyIn 2015, UKCP with support from the Department of Health brought together 14 signatory organisations, including the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to launch a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK. This is an agreement on actions to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK, to bolster psychological professionals’ training and improve the emotional support available to LGB clients who seek therapeutic help.

The 2015 MoU has now been updated (see top of page).




If members of the public have evidence of UKCP members offering conversion therapies, they are encouraged to make a complaint.